2015 News Stories
(Most Recent Appearing First)
60's/70's Racer Jim Lord Passes
12/30/15 - Sad news has reached us of the passing of Jim Lord, driver of the #07 sportsman racers at East Windsor Speedway in the 1960's and early 70s. One memory I have of Jim was during a Sunday afternoon show at East Windsor, when his little coupe spun off into the inside of turn 4, and did a slow roll over. If I remember right, before starter Tex Enright could bring out the caution or even the red flag, Jim grabbed a gear and headed back onto the track and continued on in the race without the action ever stopping.
Looking back, I'm not 100% if that's really what happened or not, but what I do remember for sure is that Jim drove his little homemade coupe in the very tough sportsman division against folks like Dusty Malsbury, Dick Taylor and others, and was the mechanic, fabricator and driver (all in one) that made up the sport.
We send our condolences to the friends and family of Jim Lord
Engine Builder Fred Bitner Passes
10/19/15 - We are all saddened to learn of the passing of Fred Bitner, father of racer Mark Bitner, and owner/operator of the family run Bitner Automotive located in Hamilton NJ.
Those who have followed our sport will remember seeing "Bitner Automotive" on (and under) the hoods of many of our all time favorite racecars.
Bitner Automotive began making its way to victory lane back in the 70's on the Pauch #15, The Trenton Mack #74 (Fred on left next to driver Larry Kline), and more.
On race night, Fred could always be found working in the pits, whether under the hood of one of the open wheel racers son Mark competed in, of sharing his knowledge and expertise with other teams in need.
Fred Bitner and Roger Grover make some adjustments on the #15.
Fred had so many moments to be proud of, but I think what he was most proud of was seeing the success his son Mark has had in many different divisions, including being the youngest driver to win a modified feature at East Windsor Speedway..., through his multiple open wheel wins at various speedways..., and just a few weeks ago, winning the 2015 NERS Sprint Division Championship at New Egypt Speedway.
Mark Bitner with the Roger Grover #G1 modified (1990's East Windsor Speedway.) Fred pushes the #15 through thepits with son Mark behind the wheel in this 2010 photo at New Egypt.
I am grateful for having the opportunity to have met Fred Bitner. My sincere condolences go out to the Bitner Family.
Joe Macfarlan and Family
Service information can be found at the link below:
Racing Great Sonny Strupp Passes
9/27/15: Our condolences go out to the Strupp family and to the many friends of legendary racer Sonny Strupp. A family man, a Navy Veteran, and a racer whose career spanned over 4 decades. Sonny, and the pictures of the cars he raced throughout the years, will always be a big part of The Vault.
Racer/Car Owner Tom Green Passes
8/1/15: Word has reached us of the passing of 60's & 70's dirt/asphalt racer Tom Green. Tom's drove one of the early Fodor #13 racers back in the 60's, and wheeled many other racers at Wall, Trenton and various tracks through the years. More information can be found at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/trentonian/obituary.aspx?n=thomas-a-green&pid=175425261&fhid=27038
Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Tom Green.
Racer Jim Keppley Passes
Jim Keppley in his #59 Modified at Bridgeport Speedway - Ace Lane Jr photo.
Very sad news has reached us of the passing of modified racer Jim Keppley. Jim was a strong runner for many years at the Reading Fairgrounds with his #59 coupe and also with his great looking Pinto bodied racer. He had many wins at Reading, and I remember Jim also running the Pinto as pictured above at the Bridgeport Speedway and also at East Windsor at times during the mid to late 70's. In addition to his #59 cars, Jim also drove a #3 Gremlin bodied modified racer.
Our condolences go out to the family, friends, and to the many friends of Jim Keppley.
Racer Stubby Stevens Passes
We received word from Mike Kent that his grandfather, 50's & 60's racer Stubby Stevens has passed away. Stubby won many races in the central NJ area, and through the years, many other drivers would follow in Stubby's footsteps, with some running the same #S1 on their cars.
Services will be held at Tilghman's Funeral Home in New Egypt on Tuesday, July 7th at 10am. For directions and for more information, please click on the link below:
Our condolences go out to the Stevens family.
Recent "In Our Community" Features
Remembering John Cornell
6/18/15 - We are very saddened to learn of the passing of John Cornell, father of modified racer Johnny Cornell III. John was one of the guys you'd be sure to find your way over to visit in the pits because he was just that good of a guy. John always brought a smile to the face of anyone he was around. He was very proud of his son Johnny who he had supported through Micro Sprint racing, into Sportsman racing (where Johnny won the 2014 Sportsman Championship at New Egypt Speedway), to this year, supporting his son's efforts in the tough modified division.
Our condolences go out to the many friends and to the family of John Cornell.
Service Information: http://www.lehrergibilisco.com/sitemaker/sites/LEHRER1/obit.cgi?user=06841744_JCornellJr
Robert Kelleher Passes
June 2015 - We have learned of the passing of friend of The Vault Robert Kelleher. Robert was a frequent visitor to our site and provided many beautiful works of art that he created on a computer of many of our favorite racecars. We are sad to hear of Robert's passing and will remember him each time we see one of his amazing images. Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Robert Kelleher.
Racer Dave Osmun Passes
5/11/15: We have received the sad news that racer Dave Osmun has passed away. Dave raced at Nazareth, Middletown and was a regular competitor at Reading in the 60's, racing his own blue #03 Coupe.
Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Dave Osmun.
Racer Dick Quallio Passes
4/10/15: Sad news has reached us of the passing of fan favorite Dick Quallio. Many will remember Dick as pictured above in his red white and blue #4 coupe (photo from Penn National), as well as his red Mustang (photo from Reading). We will always remember Dick as a strong runner, and with a friendly, genuine smile.
Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Dick Quallio.
A viewing will be held in Bean Funeral Homes, 3825 Penn Avenue, Sinking Spring, Wednesday, April 15, 2015 from 5:00-8:00pm.
For additional information, please visit:
Racer Larry Bowers Passes
Veteran modified racer Larry Bowers behind the wheel of his #1B Burnett racer (left photo) at Flemington (Ace Lane Jr. Photo) and Larry behind the wheel of the #19A at Nazareth Speedway (right photo) in the late 60's. (Doris Lemasters photo)
03.12.15: We received word from a friend of a family member that sadly, Larry Bowers passed away on Thursday 3/12) at the age of 81. Arrangements are being made at DeVoe Funeral Service in Washington N.J. for viewing Tuesday 3/17 with the funeral scheduled for Wednesday.
Larry drove many different cars throughout the years, but many of us here in The Vault will remember him behind the wheel of his #1B modified racer. Additional information is available at: http://www.obitsforlife.com/obituary/1068841/Bowers--Lawrence-.php .
Larry Bowers leads a big pack of modifieds past Harry Dee's green flag in this 1977 Flemington photo. (Wayne Bechtel Photo)
Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Larry Bowers.
Racing Great Red Coffin Passes
Red Coffin flashes by the Flemington Grandstand in this 1973 Bill Young photo, provided by Kevin Budden.
Photo By Terry Shaub/Provided By Ed Shaub Collection
Photo By Terry Shaub/Provided By Ed Shaub Collection
Photo By Terry Shaub/Provided By Ed Shaub Collection
We have received word that racing great Red Coffin has passed. Red drove the Hudick #26, the Meals #44, and others, but I'll always remember Red in the little white coupe.... with stars across the roof. And I'll remember him being always near the front of the pack.
In addition to seeing Red race, I hope that each of you had a chance to meet Red at some point during his racing career, or at one of the reunion events held over the past few years. Red was a very strong supporter of the history of our sport, including being very active in the Reading Fairgrounds Racing Historical Society (RFRHS).
In addition to being a very exciting racer, my memories of Red will be of him sharing a few racing stories at a gathering at the Fairgrounds Mall a few years ago. He told the story of the times that he drove Wally Marks' #1 and about how he thinks Wally intentionally wasn't much on making a driver feel real safe driving his car... leaving Red to conclude that might have been Wally's way of saying, "Bring it back with all 4 wheels on it..." He also told the story of running side by side with Dick Tobias back in the early 70's with two to go at Reading, and Red telling us how he went into turn 3, side by side....wanting to win so much, that he wasn't real sure if he'd make it to turn 4...
I don't know which Red was better at: racing modifieds or sharing a story, so I'll just close by saying by always remembering that Red was brilliant at both, and I'm very fortunate to have seen him race, and to have listened to a Red tell a few....
My condolences go out to the family and friends of Red Coffin.
Joe Macfarlan/3Wides Picture Vault
Legendary Car Owner Paul Deasey Passes
Car owner Paul Deasey (right) next to driver Gerald Chamberlain.
2/20/15: Word has reached us of the passing of legendary car owner Paul Deasey.
Paul raised the bar in the 60's and into the early 70's with his "Big Donkey" stock cars. While Paul had many of the best drivers of the day behind the wheel of his powerful modifieds such as Al Tasnady, Gerald Chamberlain, Stan Ploski and many, many more, the cars always had the attention of those in the pits, and those in the stands. To this day, when you think of iconic modified stock cars, for many, the Paul Deasey owned #707 will always be at the top.
Paul Deasey & Al Tasnady (Ace Lane Sr Photo) Stan Ploski with The Big Donkey (Ace Lane Sr Photo) Paul Fitzcharles with the Falcon (Wayne Bechtel Photo)
Some additional information on the man, Paul Deasey:
Paul Deasey was a professional baseball pitcher in the 1950’s for the St. Louis Browns minor league team in St. Catherine’s Ontario, where in his first game he pitched a no run – no hitter. His competitive spirit migrated to automotive racing where Paul’s competitiveness, problem solving and unique approach to engine design and custom chassis construction made his cars very desirable and successful. Paul’s legendary number 707, “Big Donkey” led him and over eight drivers to be inducted into the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame.
During his racing career, Paul Deasey also worked for Koehler and Sons in Philadelphia, manufacturing ball bearing grinding machines. After their closing, and with over twenty years of employment there, Paul moved back to south-central Pennsylvania and began Deasey Machine Tool & Die, Inc. in 1979 (source: http://www.deaseymachine.com/aboutUs.htm ).
Additional information, along with service information can be found at: http://www.berkebilefuneralhome.com/Home
Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Paul Deasey. We will always remember his contribution to the sport of modified stock car racing here in The Vault.
Joe Macfarlan & Family
Jackie Hamilton Passes
Photographer Unknown/Sherry Dornberger Provided Terry Shaub Photographer/Ed Shaub Collection Provided Terry Shaub Photographer/Ed Shaub Collection Provided
2/14/15: Word has reached us that championship winning racer Jackie Hamilton has passed away. Jackie was always one of the most popular drivers wherever he competed. Jackie is shown above in victory lane at the Flemington Speedway (Ace Lane Sr. photo), along with just a few of the cars that he raced in during the 60's & early 70's.
Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Jackie Hamilton.
Additional information: http://www.kuhnfuneralhome.com/book-of-memories/2064405/Hamilton-John/obituary.php
Skip Turyonas Passes
Photo by Wayne Bechtel Photo by Ace Lane Jr. Photo by Ace Lane Jr.
2/10/15: Sad news has reached us that Flemington racer Skip Turyonas has passed away. Skip is shown early in his career behind the wheel of his #8T sedan (top photo), and then in his familiar white and red race cars that he campaigned throughout the late 70's & 80's.
Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Skip Turyonas.
Friends and family may pay their respects on Friday, February 13, 2015, from 7-9 PM at the Warren Hills Memorial Home 234 W. Washington Ave., Washington, NJ 07882. Funeral Services will be Saturday, February 14, 2015, 10 AM at the funeral home followed by an 11 AM Funeral Mass at St. Ann's Church in Hampton, NJ. For more information, please click the link below:
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